The Oklahoma City Philharmonic is ready to rock audiences this weekend with The Music of Queen. The Pops concert event, produced by Windborne Music, will feature the full orchestra performing with a live rock band.
The set list will be comprised of the greatest hits and lost classics that span Queen’s catalogue.
Formed in 1970, Queen found success with 1974’s Sheer Heart Attack and 1975’s A Night at the Opera and would go on to conquer the world of rock ’n’ roll with dozens of hits including “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Killer Queen,” “We Will Rock You,” “We Are The Champions,” “Under Pressure” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
The tribute band performing with the OKC Phil includes Las Vegas veteran Brody Dolyniuk channeling Freddie Mercury on vocals; Berklee College of Music grads Dan Clemens on bass and Powell Randolph on drums; child prodigy Bart Kuebler on piano; and funk guitarist George Cintron will stand in for Brian May.
The orchestra is conducted by Windborne founder Brent Havens, a Berklee-trained composer who has arranged the music for all nine of Windborne’s symphonic rock shows devoted to icons of classic rock and pop, including Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson and The Who.
Havens said that originally, the symphonic rock shows where just about bringing new audiences to see a live orchestra. Along the way, he fell in love with exploring the musical potential of the songs themselves, using the orchestra to highlight the complex harmonic and melodic structures.
“Simply listening to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ you hear just about every element from opera and rock and orchestral music in one single piece,” Havens said.
Eddie Walker, executive director of the OKC Phil, agreed that Queen incorporated an abundance of influences into its music.
“Queen was on the forefront of rock groups who began reaching back to borrow grand, theatrical styles from the baroque and operatic past,” he said.
Queen’s musical explorations across genres and time periods makes Havens’ job a great deal easier as an arranger.
Unlike some symphonic adaptations that use popular music as starting points for more experimental interpretations, Havens preserves the core song note for note and builds around it.
“Plus, it’s just really fun,” he said.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a full house of fans of all ages rocking out to the orchestra.”